tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC April 13, 2012 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT
of us in the civil rights community, we wanted an arrest. we felt that this young man's life was worth something and his family should have answers. this week we got that arrest. a lot of people have a lot to say, now, let the system move forward. we'll make sure it's fair, but we couldn't do that until the process began. thanks for watching, i'm al sharpton, "hardball" starts right now. gun rights and wrongs, let's play some "hardball." good evening, i'm michael smerconish in for chris matthews. he is moderating a panel with president obama tomorrow.
leading off with lawyers guns and money, the nra is winning the battle with guns in this country. the arguments today are over how far and fast to expand gun owner rights, and mitt romney toed the line today calling gun control an assault on freedom. of course, expanded gun rights may have allowed george zimmerman to leave his car and pursue trayvon martin. ask yourself this, is it possible for george zimmerman to get a fair trial? and the hillary rosen gaffe remind us that republicans have a pattern of insulting moms. and it highlights the gender problem, and that will not go away by making the case that it is obama waging the war on women. they're taking every opportunity to paint romney as rich and out
of touch. and let me finish tonight with a battle from the 2008 campaign that still is not finished. barack obama verses bill clinton. we begin with guns, former pennsylvania governor ed rendell is an analyst, and allen gottley. speaking at the convention today was mitt romney saying that it was an assault on rights. 15 minutes into the speech he mentioned the right to bare arms, here it is. >> it extends to rights explicitly guaranteed by the constitution. the right to bare arms is to plainly stated, so unambiguous, that liberals have a hard time challenging it directly. instead they have been employing
every imaginable ruse and ploy to restrict it. >> he has supported gun control issues in the past, and he made a permanent ban on assault rifles, and while running in the senate, romney supported an assault weapons ban and the federal brady control law. in 2007, he was asked about his past positions on guns and here is what he said. >> my position on guns is the same i have had for a long, long time. and that position is that i don't line up 100% with the nra. i don't see eye to eye with them on every issue. >> in seven, there was this famous description of his hunting experience, let's watch. >> i'm not a big game hunter, i made it clear, i have been a rodent and rabbit hunter, small
varmints if you will. i began when i was 15 or so and have hunted those kind of varmints since then. i also hunted quail in georgia, so it's not big game hunting, but i have hunted a number of times of various types of small rodents. >> with that primer, please answer the question of whether governor romney can overcome some of the issues of his past with your group? >> i think when you listen to the comments of members you hear them two ways. he is not hostile to gun rights, and the average gun own sere a little upset with barack obama and his appointments to the federal courts, supreme court on down, and as you're aware there's a number of second amendment foundations going through the court system, and they're concerned about who will
be making those rulings on the federal benches. >> isn't the issue of president obama in the minds of second amendment advocates what he might do as compared to what he has done? has he done something thus far that you believe threatens second amendment rights? >> well, the main thing of course is the anti-gun judges he appointed to the federal courts. he was hostile as a senator, he hasn't been a friend for banning certain imports of antique firearms into the united states. and his kals and administration has been putting out test balloons to test the ban on semiautomatic firearms. we know where his heart and head is. he basically told the other side that when the time is right he will push for his agenda, but the current make up of the house
of representatives makes it difficult for him to get ain't gun legislation passed. >> i remember there was a run on ammunition in 2008, i think talk show hosts are the ones that propelled that. the reality is that the obama administration has not moved on the gun issues, do you disagree? >> let me say one thing quickly first, those that believe in the second amendment and gun control, the second amendment has it's limits. the first amendment clearly spells out free speech, but you can't go into a crowded movie theater and cry fire. there are limits. there are limits on gun ownership. take the gabrielle giffords case. the president obama dropped the ball there. he could have reinstituted the
multiple bullet magazines. before the assault weapons ban was dropped by the congress, it wasn't reinstituted. we had a ban that said you can only have a magazine with 11 bulleting. if that had been in effect that day, people in arizona would be alive today. >> why has the gun debate dropped off the radar. i will tell you in today's "daily beast" to hear most pundits tell it, americans are not that divided by guns. nra members want guns kept out of the hands of criminals, and gun issues have not headlined president obama's agenda. and adam winkler says few presidents have shown as little interest in gun control as barack obama. it's as if avoid gun control at all costs have become a plank in the democratic party platform. >> further of all --
>> michael bloomberg is a loser. >> they're not a loser. guys like the nra are effective at spending and lobbying. take a law i tried to get instituted in pennsylvania, barring people from banning more than one handgun a month. 40% come from straw purchasers, but it would allow you to buy 12 handguns a year, 24 if you're married, that's no limitation a all. i could not get that law out of committee because everyone is afraid because the nra has done such a good job of spooking our cowardly legislatures. >> mr. gottlieb, the success you have had is a slippery slope, you can't give an inch because if you do a little, it will be everything. >> unfortunately we have seen
that happen not only in the united states, but in other countries as well. what the former governor is talking about is prior restraint, limiting the number of guns, the size of your magazines. we never have a restraint with the first amendment, you can't use a gun to murder someone illegally, but you don't take a gun away ahead of time. >> let me ask you a simple question. why would any law abiding citizen need a magazine that has 33 bullets in it? >> why? i like to go to a gun range and shoot and for target practice, certain gun that's i have are more easy to use by using a higher capacity magazine. >> it's too much troupe to invert slee 11 magazines?
that's not a problem. >> we want to keep the magazines out of the hands of crazy guys. >> mayor rendell, let me ask you something, as governor of pennsylvania, you vetoed stand your ground, am i correct? and your successor came in and signed it into law. you're looking like a soothsayer unfortunately. do you think the trayvon martin class cause a serious re-examination of states that have it on their books? >> i hope so. let me say this. it's interesting on the stand your ground legislation, every police group in pennsylvania and the pennsylvania district attorney's association made up of 50 republican da's and 17
democratic das all encouraged me to veto it. >> mr. gottlieb? >> it's great to listen to the police, but we don't want to police state. we enjoy freedom in america, not like other countries run by dictators, that's why. >> another quick question for you, i want to return to the issue of what the president is about to do. the president doesn't know if he is getting a second term. if he were the candidate prepared to do evil things, wouldn't he do them now and not await a potential second term? >> good question, right now the battle is in the courts. the appointment of barack obama for the federal courts, you can't find one person that supports gun rights, that's the problem. >> i support you both for being here, thank you. coming up the romney campaign caught a break with hillary
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everybody had responded. and they mostly distanced themselves from rosen's comments, but steven colbert had fun with it. >> i have a personal stake in this issue, a mom, my mom. which makes me half mom on my mom side and these remarks infuriate me. this is good, folks, this story is delicious. jimmy put rosens quote up on the crawl, all the time, now play the quote on a loop. >> his wife has actually never worked a day in her life. >> now drop a fat beat on it. >> lost in the fire storm were the deeper issues that many female voters care about.
mitt romney has a lot of ground to go to make up after the bruising primary. michelle bernard is the president of the women's center, and michelle goldberg is a contributor for "newsweek." they tried to keep the comments going for yet another day when mitt romney introduced his wife? where? at the nra convention, and then both romney's talked about not surprisingly the subject of motherhood. >> i happen to believe that all moms are working moms, and if you have five sons your work is never over. >> let me give a shout out to all mom that's are working. and by the way to all dad that's are working. we love all of you. you know, i often think that you're only as a parent as happy
as your saddest child. and you never, ever, stop being a parent. >> michelle bernard, what's the legitimate issue in all of this? clearly hillary rosen should never have hearing aid is a ann romney never worked a day in her life, what's the issue? >> the legitimate public policy issues is should mitt romney will elected president of the united states. what policies will he put forth to help america's women. whether they work at home, raising children, or out in the workforce. those are the most important issues. social security, health care, the supplemental nutrition program. quite frankly my personal mantra is that all issues are women's issues, but there are certain one that's are very important to women and they involve health care, another discussion where we're going backwards in time rather than forward, and all of
the issues i said will be important to voters period. >> i think you raise interesting matters of substance. michelle goldberg, on the heels of that, some of the economic policies might hurt women. the paul ryan budget has major red flags for a lot of women. it would make cuts to the food stamp program while two thirds of the recipients are female. it would cut funding for pells, two-thirds of college student that's get those are female. and it would cut medicaid beneficiaries. people are getting hung up if she has ever worked a day in her life, of course she has. >> i think that the idea that womens will be -- then by the very real threats to their livelihood of the romney presidency would present. that is is so much more insulting to women voters than
anything hillary rosen said. there is a reason mitt romney lost the women's vote in every general election he he has ever run. sometimes very substantially. he was creamed by ted kennedy in 1994 and it's because when women get a look at his economic policies, because social issues were not really an issue in the earlier races because he was still pro-choice, they recoil. >> but in this case, i think the social issues are a factor. and my view is this is part and parcel of the gop at present. the whole vaginal probe in virginia issue. comments about contraception from santorum, he said he wants to defund planned parenthood, and overroe verses wade.
>> they deal with issues of personal liberty that nine out of ten women had every right to believe were behind us, decided many, many years ago, and the republican brand, not just mitt romney, but the brand in general sees to have nostalgia that women don't want to go back to. one could ard that money is more important to men than women. harry reid said if you asked women whether or not this was an issue, most women would say no, and then we had three republican members of congress come out and say, for example, the representative from alaska that said if you don't think there's a war on women, go talk to your
wives and daughters. >> i think a blown opportunity by governor romney, he is facing a 19 point deficit, and that's a real figure. this is "the washington post" 57 to 38 in the latest pole. i think back to what went on with the limbaugh controversy and the horrific things he said about a coed from georgetown. he cowards in the face of the right wing of the party, so instead of calling that what it was, he hid under the desk. and let's look at how obama handled it. i think they rushed to get away from the comments, and he says "those aren't the words i would
have used". >> michelle, may i interrupt you and play it and then you can analyze it, roll the same. >> it's not the language i would have used. i'm focussing on the issues and i think it's significant in the country today, and that's why i'm here talking about jobs in ohio. >> there it is. >> right, he says -- that's the best he can do is say that he wouldn't have called her a slit. probably he would have called her something as equally insulting. the thing about romney is that it's not thaechb he doesn't get it, i think he shows absolutely no interest in getting the issues that are fundamental to women's lives. let's remember the thing that set you have a uproar that hillary rosen was responding to is that his wife "reports to him" on what women think. he can't even bother to pretend to listen to women who are more than half of the electorate.
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>> welcome back to "hardball," now for the side show, first up, boy that was fast. after rick santorum's loss, people started asking if he is setting his sights on the 2016 race instead, and that was his reaction this month. >> next time? >> you haven't talked to my wife obviously. >> you didn't hear what i said, you haven't talked to my wife about next time, the last thing we're thinking about is next time. >> santorum struck a different
tune during an interview on fox last night. >> i feel like a young man, this last year put a couple years on me, there are some issues i care deeply about. for us to do as well as we did inspite of the overwhelming odds that we faced on a variety of fronts show there's a lot of people that still believe in what made this country great. >> as i said right here last night, if romney loses to president obama this november, it could very well be rick santorum stepping up in four years saying i told you so to the republicans who shut him out this time. and a nugget on the veep stakes, remember this? >> what's your philosophy and position on issues, be can you get things done? and i believe i can. >> not a winning move for gore,
but get this, bush was ready for it. thanks in part to a guy that's probably on mitt romney's vp short list. according to a time piece, portland portrayed gore in mock debates with bush. he noticed that in a previous debate, gore left his stool and approached bill bradly trying some physical intimidate to rattle him. portman did the same thing with bush in a prep session, so it was litting surprise when gore pulled the same move on governor bush in their final debate. for tonight's big number, charging $50 a pop for photos with newt beginning rich didn't do much on his debt. outside groups can now buy
access to the donor list. it only cost $26,000. you can get access to lists of newt's donors. next, can george zimmerman get a fair trial, we'll ask mark geragos when we return, you're watching "hardball."? it's big. no,i mean in terms of savings how would you sum it up? big in your own words, with respect to selection, what would you say? big okay, let's talk rebates mike, they're big they're big get $100 rebate, plus the low price tire guarantee during the big tire event. so, in other words, we can agree that ford's tire event is a good size? big big to get people to try on these new depend silhouette briefs, and today we are rocking the red carpet. look it's lisa rinna!
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attenthis gathering that beginning tomorrow, and corey booker is being failed as a hero for rescuing his neighbor from a fire, the woman is in serious condition. back to "hardball." welcome back, george zimmerman's attorney will try next try to get zimmerman out of jail while he awaits a kriel, the grudge brought up a conflict of interest when she announced her husband's colleague, a cnn analyst, denied zimmerman's question to defend him last month. joy has the latest for us.
>> the judge in this case is married to a guy who is in a law firm. he represented tiger woods after the inma mouse car rash in his home, and in the past he represented the parents of casey anthony in that huge trial here. so this was a very prominent attorney that was apparently contacted very early on by george zimmerman, before he got his first set of attorneys, to represent him. he declined to do that, but that contact with george zimmerman and also with his parents is what concerns mark o'mara. who is essentially saying this is a guy who had contact with george zimmerman's parents in the past, he is now an analyst on cnn that combination worries him because potentially that contact could happen again. >> i find it unusual that a defense lawyer would turn down such a high-profile case. do we know anything about his rationale? >> we don't know why he turned it down. i believe he had other cases at the time, but he did give george
zimmerman a reason why he wouldn't take it. and in between then we had another set of lawyers. so the judge disclosed it herself. she went ahead and disclosed the potential for the appearance of conflict and now she's leaving it up to the attorney what he wants to do. he could actually file a motion to have her removed and have her replaced with another judge. >> a week from today seems like it will be a significant date in the chronology of this case because that's when o' mara will try to have zimmerman released from jail. >> exactly, michael, and here's the issue. the previous attorneys for george zimmerman had made a big issue of the idea that he's unsafe in this community, particularly people in the african-american community are out to get george, that he wasn't safe. it's a question now why he would want to be released back into this community. >> where would he go? >> yeah, and i did ask leaders in the african-american community as well as the mayor of sanford, what did they think about this? and from the police department
which said they would be prepared if necessary, to the mayor who said the city would be prepared, to black leaders who said, frankly, look, there is a process in place. african-americans here are satisfied that a process has begun and would do nothing. it's been pretty much across the board that he wouldn't be in any danger but it is an interesting contrast to what was said before. >> joann reed, thank you so much for your report. >> thank you. with me now, famed criminal defense attorney mark geragos. thank you so much for being here, and i also respect the legal opinion of howard dershowitz who last night made his opinion of probable cause. would you please watch and react to this. >> this is so thin that it won't make it past a judge on a second-degree murder charge. it's not only thin, it's irresponsible. what you have here is an elected public official who made a
campaign speech last night for reelection when she gave her presentation, and overcharged, way overcharged. this case will not, if the evidence is no stronger than what appears in the probable cause affidavit, this case will result in an acquittal. >> mark geragos, your thoughts? >> i don't disagree at all. i stated publicly when i saw the affidavit that this was about as bare bones an affidavit as i've ever seen, and i would agree with the professor. in fact, i suspect that there has to be more, otherwise i don't know, in the parts i might disagree with, i don't know that it gets to a jury. remember, they have this kind of unusual two-step process in that besides having a probable cause proceeding, they also have what's called an immunity proceeding. and the stand your ground proceeding where it's a determination by the judge as to whether or not to grant
immunity. if the judge finds that he was acting, and it's just by a preponderance, a little bit more than the other side in terms of the evidence, they could grant immunity this would never see a jury. >> i guess many of us were looking at the affidavit of probable cause for a sign the prosecution believes took place or caused the attack or the altercation, whatever it was to begin. here's the critical paragraph and i'll put it up on the screen. zimmerman confronted martin and a struggle ensued. witnesses heard people arguing and what sounded like a struggle. during this time period, witnesses heard numerous calls for help and some of these were recorded in 922 calls to police. trayvon martin's mother has reviewed the 911 calls crying for help as trayvon martin's voice. as you point out, mark, they arguably have much more than this, but they're not telling us anything as to why they disbelieve zimmerman. presumably he's offering an account that says, i was not the initiater. >> right, and if you believe the police report when he got there,
he was wet, he had grass on him, he was bleeding. the way that narrative you just read comes off, that's still self-defense, that still falls within stand your ground. so that alone, i don't believe, ever gets you to a jury. that having been said, that's if lot of us whoa dispassionate believe the standard for probable cause nowadays is, is my client breathing and that most judges will let you go to trial on anything. that having been said, again -- well. >> let me ask you something else, mark geragos, with your experience. i found it unusual, but my expertise is on the civil side of this, that angela corey, the prosecutor attorney, was in that court and agreed with the defense counsel to seal all the records. read the tea leaves. what do you think of this? >> i think one of the problems the prosecution may have is for
whatever reason they don't want what they have, all of the evidence that they have, released. one of the problems you have in a case like this is that virtually everything ends up getting released, it gets parsed out by the media and in the public sphere, and when that happens, a lot of times that affects witnesses and everything else. i wouldn't read any nefarious connotations into that. >> i wasn't reading anything nefarious into it, but maybe i was reading too much into it in that perhaps there is a plea deal already being discussed. >> you know, that is something i wouldn't be surprised. a lot of people have talked about, look, it's a second degree. during the conrad murray case, i was always kind of perplexed as to why the lda didn't file a second degree, because when you're facing life and you've got a second degree, somebody offers you a manslaughter with a fixed number of years, you've got quite an incentive to take that plea deal. >> you pointed out previously that the real critical juncture is going to be the stand your ground evidentiary hearing.
would you expect that zimmerman would take the stand at that hearing, and if he's unsuccessful, what does that do to his testimony and his fifth amendment rights for the final trial? >> well, i'm not going to pretend to be an expert on what florida law allows. i would expect that he does take the stand, or at the very least, that if they're allowed to do it, they put the officer on who took his statement that evening and get it in through hearsay if they can do it procedurally. either way, they need to get his statement in, because you're not going to be able to prove stand your ground unless his statement that he gave to the police the night of the incident is in evidence or he gets on the stand and tells what his statement is or what his state of mind was and then allows the prosecution to impeach him with whatever his statement was. but either way, i expect that you're going to hear the words of george zimmerman at that stand your ground hearing. >> mark geragos, thanks so much for your analysis. have a good weekend. >> thank you.
glad to see you. up next, in the never-ending quest to paint mitt romney as the rich guy, vice president biden and president obama released their tax returns, and we have word on when mitt romney will do the same. you know the rules. you can follow me on twitter so long as you can spell smerconish. this is "hardball."
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an extension but it showed him taking in $20 million and paying an effective tax rate of 24%. let's bring in sam stein, and van jones, author of "build the dream." in the book "inside the circus" he says mitt romney was reluctant to release his tax returns in the first go round. for a campaign that is so controlled, how do they crew up their approach. today we learn he is going to file an extension. you know we're going to see the returns, we know they'll show a very wealthy guy, why do they create all this intrigue and drama and prolong it? >> i don't know if this guy is ready to be president or if he
is auditions for a villan in a james bond movie. everything he does, rather than getting it out there, he does everything he can to draw more attention to his kind of -- i don't know what he has to hide, but his dad in 1968 released like ten years of tax stuff with no problem. >> today is friday, friday the 13th, you know the rules, you release bad news on a friday and it gets drowned out. >> yeah, they released it five minutes ago that they were doing an extension. i think this is sort of a mistake, and i would like to echo that it draws more attention to the issue than it would have otherwise. obviously we'll see these by the election whether it's by people screaming about it and demanding it, or by him releasing it. beyond just the tax issues, he has a very bad record on
transparency. the more this goes on, the more the people in the press core will be uncomfortable by it. >> mitt romney was watch this and react to it. >> governor romney calls the president out of touch. out of touch. hey, how many of y'all have a swiss bank account? [ applause ] >> really? how many have somewhere between 20 and $100 million in your i.r.a.? >> what are the politics of this? you can't beat up on the american dream. i think the vice president has to walk a fine line in his criticism. >> i think that's right. i think the problem is when you're trying to get waivers to put an elevator in your house for your car. everybody in america likes an economic winner. i think people don't like
cheaters. you make your money here, but you hide it overseas. you're actually acting like you think you deserve to be treated differently and special. you don't want to pay your taxes. now you're starting to look like an economic cheater than an economic winner. he makes it ease vi for the vice president to do it. don't throw stones in you live in a crystal house like he does. >> a romney spokeswoman had this to say about the obama criticism before the announcement of the extension filing. it's no surprise that president obama would try to distract americans from the real issues with a series of side shows. governor romney has released his 2010 return. he's release his full 2011 return when it's filed. how is this playing with independents? the back and forth over tax returns. >> i think it's probably lost on
independents except when it can be apply to a policy issue. they're trying to just not talk about romney's wealth, but to talk about it in the context of the so called buffet rule that says millionaires should not pay taxes lower than their secretaries. if they can apply that with r romney as the personification of it, then they can. >> it's funny, both sides trying to gain an advantage from this, van. earlier this afternoon i looked at drudge. obama doesn't qualify buffet rule. he himself wouldn't apply but he's seeking to impose it. if you go to the upper left there's these terrible things about obama and his return. >> what's the net net politically speaking? >> i agree with sam.
he's got to be able to tie this to something real. for instance, next week there's going to be an opportunity, a vote on this buffet rule. one of the things that some of the younger people are saying is the student debt is awful right now. that's a real bread and butter issue. the interest rate on student debt could go up from 3.6% to 3.8%. with the buffet rule you could use some of that money. fairer taxes for rich people to help young people go to college. if he can help this arrogance of romney to actual problems people have like trying to go to college, he might be able to draw the right comparison. >> the guy is straight arrow, which is one reason i don't understand why he doesn't put it out there. >> thank you. allow me to finish with an unfinished battle from the 2008
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it tells the story of clinton campaigning thursday in a high school before a crowd of 750 who were assembled in support of a state attorney general candidate named kathleen cane. he told the crowd that cane was, quote, the only candidate you can vote for and said she was best suited to put away murders, keep kids out of jail or help senior citizens. he didn't mention her opponent for whom clinton campaigned six years ago. the closest he came to mentioning murphy is saying you don't ve to say a bad thing about anyone. just ask yourself, who can do more to help people in the job the the answer is easy, kathleen cane. three days before the campaign event, david axelrod made his own appearance. one clue has to why he got involved in this state attorney general's race. he said, i don't think barack obama has had a better friend in
politics than patrick murphy. what's going on here? why is bill clinton getting involved in state ag race and on the opposite side of the president's top advisor? the answer, history. in 2008, patrick murphy gave an early endorsement to barack obama who was locked into battle with hillary clinton. kathleen cane was a hillary clinton organizer. it was murphy, who introduced the repeal of don't ask, don't tell. implemented by bill clinton back in 1993. kathleen cane said it was easy to get clinton to campaign for her. she googled his office, got the phone number and asked him. a reporter pointed out there's no phone number listed on the clinton foundation website. makes you wonder if the big dog ha